Get Ready For The Spring 2021 Self-Directed Peter Drucker-Related Semester

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Get Ready For The Spring 2021 Self-Directed Peter Drucker-Related Semester

As I noted in my September 16 Corporate Learning Network post last year, Peter Drucker devised his own self-study programs on many different topics. He conducted them for many years, well before online information became plentiful. It was an important outlet for his deep, lifelong sense of curiosity.

When I interviewed him in 2002, when he was 92 years old, he told me his project at that time was re-reading all of Shakespeare’s plays, while also studying a literary guidebook by the late critic and Yale University professor Harold Bloom.

In the September 16 post I outlined a way for readers to develop their own personal three-month course, based on Drucker’s body of work. I’ve adapted the format of the ‘Fall Semester’ into a new Spring Semester, with different topics/suggested readings and have added a mid-term assignment.

Because we have considerably easier and more plentiful online access these days, I suggest developing the course based on Drucker’s writings, and also on websites, articles, videos and books about his life and work.

In the outline/syllabus below, the semester is divided into 12 weekly segments, starting with the week of February 1, and ending the week of April 19.  Each week has a selected topic and a suggested Drucker book.

I realize that it's impractical to read an entire book each week, so feel free to read as much as you find to be applicable in each book on the weekly topic.

For each topic/week:

  • Find and read at least one article or book section by Drucker
  • Find and read at least one article or book section by other writers about Drucker
  • Find and watch one video (such as a lecture, or conference session, related to the topic; it doesn’t necessarily have to feature Drucker)

Each week after you have read/viewed the chosen material, write a brief (1-2 pages) statement on the following:

  • Drucker’s central point regarding the topic, based on your interpretations of the readings
  • Applicability to your current life and work
  • Future implications for your life and work

Week 1: February 1, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Productivity

Drucker Book suggestion: Management: Revised Edition, 2008

Week 2: February 8, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Strategy

Drucker Book suggestion: Management: Revised Edition, 2008

Week 3: February 15, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Turbulence and Disruption

Drucker Book suggestion: Managing in Turbulent Times, 1980

Week 4: February 22, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Change

Drucker Book suggestion: Managing in a Time of Great Change, 1995

Week 5: March 1, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Chief Executive Officers

Drucker Book suggestion: The Effective Executive, 1967 (50th anniversary edition, 2017)

Week 6: March 8, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Economics

Drucker Book suggestion: Peter F. Drucker on Nonprofits and the Public Sector (originally published as Toward the Next Economics and other Essays, 1981)

Mid-term assignment: Take a virtual ‘field trip’ to an organization anywhere in the world that exemplifies one of the topics during the first six weeks and write an essay of 750-1000 words of impressions of what you learned from the organization’s website.

For instance, your writing could be about a virtual visit to the headquarters of a company that you believe to be exceptionally strong on organizational strategy, or with a highly effective CEO.

Week 7: March 15, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Politics

Drucker Book suggestion: Peter F. Drucker on Business and Society (originally published as Men, Ideas & Politics: Essays by Peter F. Drucker, 1971)

Week 8: March 22, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Careers

Drucker Book suggestion: Management Challenges for the 21st Century, 1999

Week 9: March 29, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Reinvention

Drucker Book suggestion: Drucker on Asia, 1995

Week 10: April 5, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on a Functioning Society

Drucker Book suggestion: A Functioning Society: Selections from Sixty-five Years of Writing on Community, Society, and Polity, 2003

Week 11: April 12, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Art and Music

Drucker Book suggestion: The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition, 1993

Week 12: April 19, 2021

Suggested topic: Drucker on Spirituality and Religion

Drucker Book suggestion: The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition, 1993

Potential Starting Sources of Information

Final project: Write an essay of 750-1000 words about the main points of what you've learned; what topics were most valuable and what readings you'd like to pursue in more depth in the future.

Projected Outcome

As with the Fall Semester, this one should also prove to be a great exercise in finding and evaluating quality information, and turning that information into knowledge.

In order to be as organized and time-saving as possible, keep all of the material together, either in a computer file, or a notebook. That way you’ll be easily able to view your progress, and connect the dots of what you’ve learned week-to-week.

Keep a list of the sources you used (such as titles and authors of books and articles), as well as useful websites.

If you apply yourself sufficiently, you’ll find that you’ve learned about these topics through a Drucker-related lens, but with input from a variety of other sources. I hope that upon completion, if you didn’t take part in the Fall 2020 semester, that you will be looking forward to Fall 2021!

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